aftermath of a hit and run

Can you sue for car accident injuries if you don’t know who hit you?

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

In the expanding urban landscape of Los Angeles, where the busy streets are as diverse as its residents, car accidents are an unfortunate but common occurrence. Amid the chaos of a collision, victims are often left with not just physical injuries but a multitude of questions and uncertainties. One question that frequently surfaces is, “Can you sue for car accident injuries if you don’t know who hit you?”. At J&Y Law Firm, rooted deeply in the heart of Los Angeles, California, we encounter many clients facing this same dilemma. 

Through this article, we aim to demystify the complexities surrounding such incidents and offer a beacon of hope to those who find themselves in this perplexing situation.

Navigating the aftermath of a car accident can be overwhelming, especially when the other party flees the scene, leaving no trace behind except for the injuries and damages sustained. Known as hit-and-run accidents, these incidents pose unique legal challenges for victims seeking compensation and justice. However, the absence of the at-fault driver’s identity does not necessarily mean a dead-end for recovery options. 

With a deep understanding of California’s legal landscape, our team at J&Y Law Firm is dedicated to guiding hit-and-run victims through the available legal avenues to seek compensation. From utilizing uninsured motorist coverage to exploring government compensation programs, we are committed to uncovering every potential source of support for our clients.

In this article we will dive right into the intricacies of pursuing legal action for car accident injuries without a known perpetrator. Our expertise and compassionate approach are your allies in this journey, aiming to illuminate the path towards justice and recovery for those seemingly trapped in the shadows of anonymity.

Can you sue for car accident injuries if you don’t know who hit you?

Yes, you can pursue legal action and seek compensation for car accident injuries even if you do not know who hit you, particularly in cases of hit-and-run accidents. While the process can be more challenging without a known at-fault party to hold directly accountable, victims have several avenues to consider:

  1. Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM)
    • Insurance Claim: If you have uninsured motorist coverage as part of your auto insurance policy, you can file a claim for damages and injuries sustained in a hit-and-run accident. This coverage is specifically designed to protect drivers in situations where the at-fault party is unknown or uninsured.
    • Compensation: UM coverage can compensate for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, up to the limits of your policy. It’s important to report the accident to the police and your insurance company promptly, as most policies have strict time limits for reporting hit-and-run incidents.
  2. Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM)
    • Additional Protection: In cases where the at-fault driver is identified but lacks sufficient insurance to cover all your damages, underinsured motorist coverage can provide additional compensation.
    • Coverage Limits: Similar to UM coverage, the amount you can receive depends on the limits of your policy and the extent of your damages.
  3. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or MedPay
    • No-Fault Coverage: Some insurance policies include Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Medical Payments (MedPay) coverage, which pays for medical expenses regardless of who is at fault. These benefits can be crucial in hit-and-run cases, providing immediate financial relief for medical treatment.
  4. Civil Lawsuit
    • Unknown Defendants: While suing an unknown driver presents obvious challenges, in some cases, it may be possible to initiate a lawsuit if the driver is later identified through police investigations or other means.
    • Third-Party Liability: In certain situations, there may be grounds to sue third parties. For example, if poor road conditions or a malfunctioning traffic signal contributed to the accident, a municipality or product manufacturer might be partially liable.
  5. Crime Victim Compensation Programs
  6. State Assistance: Many states offer crime victim compensation programs to help individuals who have been victims of crimes, including hit-and-run accidents. These programs can provide financial assistance for medical treatment, counseling, lost income, and sometimes funeral expenses.

Navigating the aftermath of a hit-and-run accident and seeking compensation requires a thorough understanding of insurance laws and the legal system. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney can be invaluable in exploring your options, ensuring your rights are protected, and helping you secure the compensation you deserve. Attorneys can also assist in dealing with insurance claims, negotiating settlements, and providing guidance on the best course of action given the specifics of your case.

Preparation for being hit by an uninsured motorist

Being involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist can be a stressful and daunting experience, particularly given the potential complexities in seeking compensation for damages and injuries. However, preparing for such an eventuality can significantly mitigate the financial and legal headaches that may follow. Here are steps and considerations to help you prepare:

  • Opt for Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
    • Insurance Policy Review: Regularly review your auto insurance policy to ensure you have adequate uninsured (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. These coverages are specifically designed to protect you in the event of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
    • Coverage Limits: Consider choosing limits that provide sufficient protection given your personal circumstances. This coverage can help with medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
  • Include Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Medical Payments Coverage
    • No-Fault Benefits: PIP or MedPay coverage can provide immediate benefits for medical expenses and, in some cases, lost wages, regardless of who is at fault. This can be especially valuable in accidents involving uninsured motorists.
  • Document Everything
    • Evidence Collection: In the event of an accident, document as much as possible. Take photos of the scene, the damage to all vehicles involved, any visible injuries, and gather witness information. This documentation can be crucial in supporting your claim.
    • Police Report: Always report the accident to the police. A formal police report provides an official account of the incident, which is important for insurance claims and potential legal action.
  • Know the Legal and Insurance Processes
    • Understanding Your Policy: Familiarize yourself with the claims process under your insurance policy, including how to file a claim for UM/UIM coverage.
    • Legal Rights: Educate yourself about your legal rights and options in your state if you are hit by an uninsured motorist. This may include pursuing a lawsuit for damages, though collecting on such judgments can be challenging.
  • Emergency Fund
    • Financial Preparedness: Consider maintaining an emergency fund to cover immediate expenses in the aftermath of an accident, such as medical deductibles or living expenses if you’re unable to work. This financial buffer can provide peace of mind and stability.
  • Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney
    • Legal Guidance: If you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist, consulting with a personal injury attorney can provide clarity on your options for seeking compensation. An attorney can help navigate the insurance claims process, negotiate with insurers, and, if necessary, represent you in legal proceedings.
  • Stay Informed
    • State Laws: Keep abreast of any changes to state laws regarding uninsured motorists and insurance requirements. This knowledge can help you make informed decisions about your insurance coverage and legal options.

By taking these preparatory steps, you can protect yourself financially and legally in the unfortunate event of an accident with an uninsured motorist. Preparation, education, and the right insurance coverage are key components of your defense strategy, ensuring you’re well-equipped to handle the situation with confidence and peace of mind.


In conclusion, navigating the aftermath of a car accident can be overwhelming, especially if the responsible party remains unidentified. However, as we’ve explored in this post, you still have legal options to pursue compensation for your injuries. It’s crucial to act swiftly by reporting the incident, seeking immediate medical attention, and consulting with experienced legal professionals.

At J&Y Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA, we understand the complexities of these cases and are committed to guiding our clients through each step of the process. Our team is dedicated to ensuring that you are not left to bear the financial burden of an accident that was no fault of your own. 

If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re here to help you navigate the legal landscape and secure the compensation you deserve. Remember, every case has its unique challenges, but with the right support and guidance, you can overcome these obstacles and move forward. 

Contact J&Y Law Firm today at (323) 202- 2305 for a comprehensive evaluation of your case and expert legal representation.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.